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Report: Mavericks throw hat in Melo sweepstakes — but only as a rental

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Now we have some confirmation on an early post on this site that came with a little bit of speculation — it is indeed the Dallas Mavericks that is the contending team that has thrown it’s hat into the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes.

However they only want him as a “rental,” according to Ken Berger of CBSSports, who broke the story. Meaning they don’t want to offer him a big contract extension, they just want him for these upcoming playoffs.

Part of Dallas’ strategy, according to sources, is to shift the Anthony discussions to what Cuban recently called the “rent-a-player” phase, which would drive down the price and encourage other teams to present offers without assurances that Anthony would stay put for five years — the two he has remaining (including the early-termination option for 2011-12) plus the extension.

Such potential suitors, including the Mavs, do not have enough of what Denver is looking for to compete with New Jersey’s best offer. But if Dallas is successful in shifting Denver’s focus to “rental” deals, the Nets would then have to decide how much they are willing to give up to acquire a franchise cornerstone for their move to Brooklyn — even if Anthony could leave them in the dust as a free agent before the team even got there.

Everything still starts and ends with the New Jersey situation. No, not The Situation. We mean the Anthony/Nets situation — the Nets have by far the best offer with Derrick Favors, Troy Murphy and his expiring contract, plus a boatload of picks. However, they Nets are only interested if Anthony will sign an extension to stay with the team for five years and be there for the 2012 opening of the franchise’s new building in Brooklyn.

So far, Anthony has been hesitant to agree to an extension (reports differ on whether he is open to an extension there, but right now his people seem to be saying no). Bottom line is Anthony does not want to be the lone star on a team playing in Newark for another season, he only wants to go if other stars come. Maybe Chauncey Billups and Al Harrington from Denver. The Nets are working on that, but it is a tall order.

Berger also reports that the Rockets are trying to get in on the fun.

What the rent-a-player push does is give the Nuggets another option. Those offers from the Mavericks and others may not be as good as the Nets’ offer, but if the Nets pull out because Anthony will not sign an extension the Nuggets have a Plan B. Those options may be better than Anthony’s preferred destination of the Knicks.

Also, the thought of being traded and not getting his three-year, $64 million extension might motivate Anthony to accept going to the Nets. If he waits to be a free agent and signs wherever under a new CBA, Anthony could be out millions or even tens of millions.

Money often talks. And that’s one thing Cuban has and knows how to use.

Report: No criminal charges to be filed against Matt Barnes

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The NBA is still investigating and can take its own action. In theory people involved in the incident could decide to file a civil lawsuit (although Fisher said he would not).

However, Memphis’ Matt Barnes is not going to face any criminal charges for an altercation he instigated with Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife in Los Angeles, according to police, who talked to TMZ.

Matt Barnes will NOT be charged with a crime for allegedly attacking Derek Fisher over the weekend … the Redondo Beach Police Department tells TMZ Sports.

Cops tell us they did respond to an incident and a police report was filed regarding the altercation — but officers say the case “was reviewed and there is no basis for criminal charges.” As we previously reported, a witness at the home says Barnes struck Fisher in the face and a fight ensued. However, the NY Post is reporting that Fisher did not want to pursue charges against Barnes.

Fisher has been seeing Gloria Govan — Barnes’ estranged wife and star of the “Basketball Wives” reality series — for several months, and was over at her house in the South Bay of Los Angeles Saturday night, along with other friends. Barnes said he got a call from one of his two sons, who “looked distressed” that Fisher was over, and that caused Barnes to drive over to the house. Once he arrived an altercation broke out between the two men, with Barnes allegedly texting a friend that he beat up Fisher and spat in his wife’s face. That’s not going to scar the young boy any further, well done.

If Barnes did this as described (and we don’t know the details), the NBA has to look hard at this. Barnes does not get to decide for a woman he is no longer seeing who she can and cannot see, and who she has over to her home. She is not property. That is the level of control seen in domestic abuse situations, and the league can’t sit back and tolerate it.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Knicks will be better. Slightly.

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I like the Knicks’ offseason moves. Well, not blowing the meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge before it ever started — you say the right things and take him to a nice dinner because that is the kind of elite player you need to try to land. Take the meeting.

However, bringing in Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo were smart pickups, and I like the Kristaps Porzingis draft pick more than many (although we need a couple of years to see how good he will really be). Combine that with a healthy Carmelo Anthony and…

The Knicks suck less. They aren’t good, but they aren’t embarrassing. And that is step one, as I discuss with Jenna Corrado in this latest PBT Extra.